In this article, I expound Hegel’s critique of Kant, which he first and most elaborately presented in his early essay "Faith and Knowledge" (1802), by focusing on the criticism that Hegel levelled against Kant’s (supposedly) arbitrary subjectivism about the categories. This relates to the restriction thesis of Kant’s transcendental idealism: categorially governed empirical knowledge only applies to appearances, not to things in themselves, and so does not reach objective reality, according to Hegel. Hegel claims that this restriction of knowledge to (...) appearances is unwarranted merely on the basis of Kant’s own principle of transcendental apperception, and just stems from Kant’s empiricist bias. He argues that Kant’s principle of apperception as the foundational principle of knowledge is in fact incompatible with his empiricism. Hegel rightly appraises the centrality of transcendental apperception for the constitution of objectivity. But he is wrong about its incompatibility with Kant’s empirical realism. By virtue of a misapprehension of the formal distinction between the accompanying ‘I think’, i.e. the analytical principle of apperception, and what Hegel calls “the true ‘I’” of the original-synthetic unity of apperception, Hegel unjustifiably prises apart the productive imagination, which is supposedly this “true ‘I’”, and the understanding, which is supposedly just a derivative, subjective form of the productive imagination; the latter, according to Hegel, is Reason or Being itself, and is the truly objective. This deflationary reading of the understanding, which hypostatises the imagination as the supreme principle, rests on a distortion of key elements of Kant’s theory of apperception. In this paper, I show that Hegel’s charge of inconsistency against Kant, namely, Hegel’s claim that the principle of apperception as the highest principle of cognition does not comport with Kant’s restriction thesis, is the direct consequence of a psychological misreading of Kant’s subjectivism. // The copy archived here is the published version, the watermark won't show when printed. (shrink)
In this article, I consider critical arguments levelled against central elements of my view, expounded in my book Kant’s Deduction and Apperception (Schulting 2012b; KDA), that the categories are derived a priori from the principle of apperception, the ‘I think’. This view goes back to a much earlier, and more famous attempt by Klaus Reich, first proposed in 1932 (see Reich 2001), to argue that the functions of thought are ultimately and a priori derivable from the objective unity of apperception. (...) Reich looked to textual sources outside the Deduction for support, while I argued that TD itself provides supporting grounds for this view, or at least for the derivation of the categories from apperception. This has not been a popular view among Kantians, and gathering from the criticisms against my take on it, one may safely assume it is not going to be the standard view any time soon (see Dyck 2014 and Stephenson 2014; though Quarfood 2014 is much more positive). While responding to my critics, I go over some of the main planks of my interpretation of the so-called ‘first step’ of the B-Deduction, which was delineated in much greater detail in KDA. Among other things, against Corey Dyck I maintain that the analytic unity of consciousness is crucially important to the argument of §16 of the Deduction and I argue that the categories are more intimately related to the functions of judgement than some interpreters, including Dyck, make them out to be. Secondly, I argue that the progressive argument of TD should not be construed as a transcendental argument against the sceptic, as so many Anglophone readers of TD (still) do. To construe TD as aimed at the sceptic is to underestimate Kant’s epistemic confidence and to miss the real point of the Critical project, which should be seen more in the context of rationalism, namely: justifying the use of the pure concepts of the understanding by showing that they are only objectively valid in conjunction with empirical intuitions of objects. In this context, I criticise a standard reading of the reciprocity between the subject and object of experience and critically consider construals of a supposed gap in Kant’s argument. I argue why, in his critique of KDA, Andrew Stephenson is mistaken in thinking that showing that the categories apply to the objects of experience is not entailed by showing that the categories are instantiated in the experience of objects. Thirdly, I defend my claim that the derivation of the categories is a proper deduction, by answering the critique of a level confusion in my argument. This concerns a methodological point about the way TD proceeds, and why it involves self-consciousness. In the last part of the article, I respond to the incisive question, raised by Marcel Quarfood, whether it is at all possible to derive the category of contingency from within the first-person perspective. In formulating an answer, I point out that we can only have a negative concept of contingency, which at the same time shows the limits of the transcendental-subjective perspective. Ironically, on account of Kant’s radical subjectivism about the possibility of knowledge we are at the same time barred from accessing what is truly merely subjectively valid. This shows that Kant’s radical subjectivism is not a psychological subjectivism. // The copy archived here is the published version, the watermark won't show when printed. (shrink)
In his argument for the possibility of knowledge of spatial objects, in the Transcendental Deduction of the B-version of the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant makes a crucial distinction between space as “form of intuition” and space as “formal intuition.” The traditional interpretation regards the distinction between the two notions as reflecting a distinction between indeterminate space and determinations of space by the understanding, respectively. By contrast, a recent influential reading has argued that the two notions can be fused into (...) one and that space as such is first generated by the understanding through an act of synthesis of the imagination. Against this reading, this article argues that a key characteristic of space as a form of intuition is its nonconceptual unity, which defines the properties of space and is as such necessarily independent of determination by the understanding through the transcendental synthesis of the imagination. The conceptual unity that the understanding prescribes to the manifold in intuition, by means of the categories, defines the formal intuition. Furthermore, this article argues that it is the sui generis, nonconceptual unity of space, when taken as a unity for the understanding by means of conceptual determination, that first enables geometric knowledge and knowledge of spatially located particulars. (shrink)
In this paper, I wish to concentrate on two connected elements of Kant’s theory of self-consciousness: the transcendental conditions for establishing the identity of self-consciousness, which first enable the awareness thereof, namely self-consciousness strictly speaking, and the relation between self-consciousness and self-knowledge. I contend that two mistaken assumptions underlie the critique of Kant’s “derivative” or so-called “reflection-theoretical” view of self-consciousness, namely the belief that it does not accommodate a sui generis theory of self-consciousness: (1) that the identity of self is (...) somehow a priori given, and presumably any act of transcendental apperception, which is interpreted as an act of reflection, always already presupposes this a priori self-identity, and (2) that the awareness of the identity of self-consciousness ipso facto amounts to self-knowledge. Concerning assumption (1), often it is thought that Kant’s so-called reflective “I think,” which accompanies my representations, is secondary to, or derivative of, the transcendental unity of self-consciousness, or indeed, secondary to the identity of self-consciousness. In section 3, I address this assumption from an interpretive point of view, by looking more closely at Kant’s argument in §16 of the B-Deduction (B131-6). This will show that Kant’s view of self-consciousness is in fact not derivative, and that instead it shows how any account of self-consciousness and the identity of self is first made possible by transcendental consciousness or transcendental apperception, which is nothing but the act itself of accompanying, through the “I think,” one’s representations as one’s own. Transcendental consciousness is an original consciousness, which a priori grounds any form of self-consciousness or self-knowledge, and is “the consciousness of myself, as original apperception” (A117n). In the last section of the chapter (section 4), I consider (ad 2) why, for Kant, awareness of the identity of self-consciousness does not ipso facto amount to self-knowledge, and explain that, in addition to transcendental self-consciousness, what Kant calls the “affection” of inner sense is needed for self-knowledge to be possible. But first, in section 2, I address some more general, systematic issues, which directly bear on the aforementioned topics. (shrink)
This is the 50-page introduction to my new monograph on the Transcendental Deduction, to be published this May, titled "Kant's Radical Subjectivism: Perspectives on the Transcendental Deduction", collecting essays on various topics central to the argument of the Deduction. For an analytical table of contents, see here: http://media.wix.com/ugd/aa4405_a7dd7abd37284f899fd64e078c58ee66.pdf // The copy archived here is the published version, the watermark won't show when printed .
Critical notice of Lucy Allais's monograph on Kantian idealism, focusing on her refutation of phenomenalism. I argue that none of her reasons for rejecting phenomenalist readings of Kant's idealism are compelling. // the watermark won't show when printed.
This article is based on a presentation held at the conference "Immanuel Kant: Die Einheit des Bewusstseins", September 2014, Graz University, Austria. A much longer version of this paper appears as Chapter 4 in my forthcoming new book "Kant's Radical Subjectivism. Perspectives on the Transcendental Deduction" (Palgrave Macmillan 2017) // The copy archived here is an uncorrected proof, the watermark won't show when printed Here's an abstract: // In some Anglophone Kant literature (Van Cleve 1999; Gomes 2010; Stephenson 2014; cf. (...) Shaddock 2015), the problem has been raised of an alleged ‘gap’ in Kant’s argument in TD for the necessary application of the categories to objects of experience, hereafter called ‘the Gap’. The Gap is construed in terms of the difference between arguing that we must apply categories in order to be able to think of, experience, or perceive objects and arguing that the categories must so apply, or in other words, that the categories are exemplified by the objects that we think of, experience, or perceive. The first argument does not imply the second one. Kant appears to claim it does. Hence the Gap. If this is indeed the case, there is a serious problem with Kant’s claim that by means of showing that the categories are derived from the subjective functions of thought we are able to tell how knowledge of objects is possible. At most, Kant will have shown that there are certain necessary ways in which we think of, experience, or perceive objects, but not that the objects of thought, experience, or perception necessarily conform to our necessary ways of thinking, experiencing, or perceiving, that is, that the categories that we need to think of, experience, or perceive objects in fact apply to the objects themselves. This would mean that Kant’s Copernican hypothesis that we take objects to conform to the forms of our understanding, rather than that our concepts conform to the objects (Bxvii), is false. I contend that a fundamental misunderstanding regarding the analytic principle of apperception and the notion of objective validity, and what this entails for Kant’s concept of objectivity, underlies this criticism of a supposed gap in Kant’s argument. In the following, I address these issues, and shall argue that there is in fact no Gap in Kant’s argument. To show that there is no gap between the analytic principle of apperception and the notion of object that Kant espouses, and that Kant indeed shows how subjectivity is constitutive of objectivity, I rehearse central arguments regarding the scope of transcendental apperception as a principle governing representations from my previous book (Schulting 2012b). In the last section (Section 4.10; [not in the current paper]), I argue that a suitably amended version of the phenomenalist reading of Kant’s transcendental idealism helps us understand the intimate relation between TUA and the concept of an object, and why there is no gap between the necessary application of the categories and their exemplification in the object of experience. (shrink)
In this chapter, I am interested in how, following Hegel’s critique of Kant, recent Hegelians have interpreted Kant’s claims in the Transcendental Deduction (TD), in particular. Hegelians such as Robert Pippin think that in TD Kant effectively compromises or wavers on the strict separability between concepts and intuitions he stipulates at A51/B75. For if the argument of TD, in particular in its B-version, is that the categories are not only the necessary conditions under which I think objects, by virtue of (...) applying concepts, but also the necessary conditions under which anything is first given in sensibility, the fixed separation of concepts and intuitions seems incompatible with the very aim and conclusion of TD. I want to examine these charges by looking more closely at Pippin’s reading of TD and his more general approach to Kant’s strategy. Pippin believes the orthodox Kant cannot be retained, if we want to extract something of philosophical value from TD. He defends a Kantian conceptualism shorn of the remaining nonconceptualist tendencies, which are in his view antithetical to the spirit of Kant’s Critical revolution. I believe, however, that we must retain the orthodox Kant, including its nonconceptualist tendencies, in order not to succumb to an intemperate conceptualism. // The copy archived here is the published version, the watermark won't show when printed. (shrink)
In this paper, I want to zero in on the Kantian idea that, whilst things in themselves must logically be presupposed as the ground underlying appearances and things are not reducible to their representations, (1) objects as appearances are not properties *of* things in themselves, and (2) things in themselves or the thing in itself cannot properly be represented or even thought. To do this, I turn to one of the earliest defenders and champions of the Kantian philosophy, Karl Leonhard (...) Reinhold, and specifically to his first major work "Versuch einer neuen Theorie des menschlichen Vorstellungsvermögens", published in 1789. I am here interested neither in the extent to which Reinhold’s interpretation of Kant is correct or even adequately represents Kant’s thought in all of its aspects, nor whether Reinhold’s attempt to present a systematic philosophy based on a rigorous deduction from a single principle (his strong foundationalism) stands up to scrutiny. I am here solely interested in some of Reinhold’s positive insights, in the Versuch, concerning elements of his representationalism that may shed light on Kant’s idealism, specifically, the relation between appearances (as objects of knowledge) and things in themselves, i.e., points (1) and (2) described above. I read the early Reinhold of the Versuch as confirming the Kantian view that objects as appearances are not properties of things in themselves and that we are radically ignorant of things in themselves, in the sense that we can neither know things in themselves (through the senses) nor even intellectually grasp things in themselves through the understanding alone. (shrink)
I shall focus on one topic in chiefly the metaphysics lectures that are contemporaneous with Kant’s Critical phase. I look at one particular, though crucial, element, namely transcendental apperception and the notion of ‘consciousness’ and explore to what extent, and in which context, they are featured in the lectures and what changes (or not) from the pre-Critical to the Critical phase of Kant’s lecturing activity. After introducing the theme of apperception and consciousness in Kant and addressing some terminological issues, I (...) look first at the Leibnizian and Wolffian background of Kant’s theory of apperception, the usage and occurrence of the term ‘consciousness’ in the lectures notes and in Kant’s pre-Critical published work. I also address aspects of the theory of obscure representations, in order to clarify Kant’s differentiation of apperception from mere consciousness. Subsequently, I examine how Kant’s conception of ‘consciousness’ develops from the pre-Critical Herder and Pölitz metaphysics lectures to the lectures of the Critical period, specifically the Metaphysik von Schön and Mrongovius, where the notion of ‘apperception’ first crops up and which show that Kant departs from the Leibnizian-Wolffian conflation of apperception and consciousness, although there appear to remain some carry-overs from the pre-Critical lectures. I then briefly consider a lingering ambiguity about the relation between inner sense and transcendental apperception in the Mrongovius notes and conclude that, in line with Leibniz’s gradual theory of perceptions, Kant espouses a gradual theory of consciousness. (shrink)
Inspired by Kant's account of intuition and concepts, John McDowell has forcefully argued that the relation between sensible content and concepts is such that sensible content does not severally contribute to cognition but always only in conjunction with concepts. This view is known as conceptualism. Recently, Robert Hanna and Lucy Allais, among others, have brought against this view the charge that it neglects the possibility of the existence of essentially non-conceptual content that is not conceptualized or subject to conceptualization. Their (...) defense against McDowell amounts to non-conceptualism. Both views believe that intuition is synthesized content in Kant's sense. In this article, I am particularly interested in how their views are true to Kant. I argue that although McDowell is right that intuition is only epistemically relevant in conjunction with concepts, I also believe that Hanna and Allais are right with regard to the existence of essentially non-conceptual content, but that they are wrong with regard to intuition being synthesized content in Kant's sense. I also point out the common failure to take account of the modal nature of Kant's argument for the relation between intuition and concept. [the article is written in Dutch]. (shrink)
In my reply to the respective critiques by Corey Dyck, Marcel Quarfood and Andrew Stephenson of my book Kant’s Deduction and Apperception: Explaining the Categories (Palgrave 2012), I go over some of the main planks of my interpretation of the first step of the B-Deduction. In response to Dyck, I explain that there are several reasons why I believe that the deduction of the categories must indeed be seen as a logical derivation from the unity of apperception, and also why (...) this view of the Transcendental Deduction does not make the Metaphysical Deduction redundant. Furthermore, I maintain that, pace Dyck, the analytic unity of consciousness is crucially central to the argument of § 16 of the Deduction. Lastly, I argue that the categories are more intimately related to the functions of judgement than Dyck makes them out to be. In response to Stephenson, I argue that the progressive argument of the Transcendental Deduction should not be construed as a transcendental argument against the sceptic. Secondly, I criticise his reading of the reciprocity between the subject and object of experience. In this context, I also point out that Stephenson misconstrues my reading of the supposed gap in Kant’s reasoning, and argue that his fourfold gap is not pertinent to Kant. Thirdly, I defend my claim that the derivation of the categories is a proper deduction, by answering Stephenson’s critique of a level confusion in my argument and pointing out why he is mistaken to think that showing that the categories are applied to the objects of experience is not entailed by showing that the categories are instantiated in the experience of objects. In the last part of the paper, I respond to Quarfood’s question whether it is at all possible to derive the category of contingency from within the first-person perspective. I attempt to formulate an answer, while pointing out that we can only have a negative concept of contingency. (shrink)
Recently, Allais, Hanna and others have argued that Kant is a nonconceptualist about intuition, and that intuitions refer objectively independently of the functions of the understanding. Kantian conceptualists have responded, with reference to A89ff./B122ff. – which the nonconceptualist also cite as evidence for their reading, that this view conflicts with the central goal of Kant’s Transcendental Deduction to argue that all intuitions are subject to the categories. I argue that the conceptualist reading of A89ff./B122ff. is unfounded, but also that the (...) nonconceptualists are wrong to believe that intuitions as such refer objectively, and are mistaken about the relation between figurative synthesis and intellectual synthesis. (shrink)
References to Kant's so-called Copernicanism or Copernican turn are often put in very general terms. It is commonly thought that Kant makes the Copernican analogy solely in order to point out the fact as such of a paradigm shift in philosophy. This is too historical an interpretation of the analogy. It leaves unexplained both Kant's and Copernicus' reasons for advancing their respective hypotheses, which brought about major changes in the conceptual schemes of philosophy and astronomy. My contention is that something (...) much more specific, systematic is at issue, which contrary to received understanding makes Kant's analogy in fact particularly apt. (shrink)
In this article, I am interested in answering two, relatively simple, but important questions: (a) Does Kant allow first-order consciousness without second-order consciousness, that is, does he allow for empirical consciousness that is not transcendentally apperceived, and so not accompanied by the 'I think', either in principle or de facto? (b) If Kant allows for unaccompanied first-order consciousness, what is the status of this consciousness? Is it in any way possible to be conscious of this consciousness? Or is this first-order (...) consciousness in some way a consciousness of which we are and remain ex hypothesi unconscious? A related question which is independent of Kant's arguments regarding the conditions for self-consciousness, is whether Kant allows for unconsciousness strictius dicta, viz., the total lack of consciousness at all. I believe that transcendental apperception itself provides sufficient ground for establishing Kant's position on unaccompanied or non-apperceptive consciousness. An argument for the thesis that Kant either allows or doesn't allow for non-apperceptive consciousness can be gleaned from the positive argument for transcendental apperception as an analytic principle. We need only look at the logical ramifications of this principle to find such an argument. (shrink)
This article presents an overview of the current debate on Kant's doctrine of idealism, focussing on the metaphysical interpretations of Ameriks, Allais, Friebe, Langton, Van Cleve and Westphal, and also on Guyer's recent reassessment of Allison's latest views.
In an illuminating new essay ‘Die Einheit des Erkenntnisvermögens bei Kant’ (Conant 2016/2017), James Conant critically addresses what he argues is a widespread assumption in modern philosophy, namely, the assumption that our rational capacity to know is a capacity that is somehow “added” or tacked on to the capacity that we humans share with other animals, that is, our receptive capacity for sensations, our sensibility. This is the so-called “additive” theory of cognition, more specifically of the relation between sensibility and (...) the understanding. He addresses this assumption by looking at the main argument of Kant’s Transcendental Deduction. I quite agree with the general tenor of Conant’s paper, namely that the Deduction should not be read as if the two stems of knowledge, sensibility and understanding, were connected in the way suggested by what he aptly calls the “layer-cake conception of human mindedness” (2016:78/2017a:232), whereby concepts are somehow “added” or tacked on to pre-given manifolds of representations to constitute acts of cognition. This is not to say though that I agree with all of the arguments he presents in support of this critical view, or even with the main argument he mounts in support of undermining the layer-cake conception of human mindedness. I think Conant oversells his rightful critique of the layer-cake conception by underestimating the modal nature of Kant’s reasoning in the Deduction and the compatibility between it and a minimally or relatively nonconceptual interpretation. Conant thinks that a rejection of the layer-cake conception of human mindedness entails an unqualified rejection of nonconceptualism of any sort. I think there is a third possible route, which likewise rejects the layer-cake conception of human mindedness, but is still compatible with a kind of minimal nonconceptualism about the relation between sensibility and the understanding, which also avoids the problems of Conant’s own positive reading (which I come to in the course of this discussion). To put it succinctly, I think Conant’s reading of the Deduction is too strongly conceptualist, and unnecessarily so. In this notice, I shall address some of the main points on which I diverge from Conant’s reading. (shrink)
In Robert Pippin’s new volume, entitled "Die Aktualität des Deutschen Idealismus", which collects 15 of his German-language papers including four that were first published in English, there are two essays that haven’t been published before, in either language. These concern his recent talk ‘Hegel über die politische Bedeutung kollektiver Selbsttäuschung’ and the essay ‘Logik und Metaphysik: Hegels “Reich der Schatten”’. I want to look at some aspects of that latter essay’s compelling arguments for seeing Hegel’s logic as a metaphysics, which (...) takes objects, in some sense, to be a product and content of thought (WL, 5:30). Pippin’s general approach to Hegel’s metaphysical logic is, it seems to me, the only viable one, interpretatively as well as philosophically. I beg to differ however with respect to some of the details in relation to Kant, which I shall be focusing on in this notice. (shrink)
This is the published version of a paper presented at the Hegel conference on the occasion of 200 years of Hegel's essay Glauben und Wissen, held in Jena in 2002. It concerns a critical Kantian account of Hegel's critique of Kant.
Interview with Richard Rorty, April 1997, Amsterdam. Occasion for the interview was Rorty being the occupant of the Spinoza Chair in 1997. The interview is mostly about Rorty's paper 'The Intellectuals and the Poor', in which he criticises the politics of left-wing academics.
Kant’s text on Kästner, which for the first time appears in an integral English translation in this same issue of Kantian Review in which this article appears, is important for our understanding of Kant’s conception of space. The key point is Kant’s insistence on a clear distinction between metaphysical and geometric space. The first is a given infinite, while the second is a potential infinite. Fichant’s translation into French of this text in the 1990s (Fichant 1997) came at a time (...) when Béatrice Longuenesse’s magnum opus on CPR (Longuenesse 1998a) had just established itself as a serious alternative approach to the dominant interpretative strands in the analytic tradition. A key feature of Longuenesse’s work is its claim that space is, in effect, a product of the faculty of productive imagination, and therefore, given that according to Kant the productiveimagination is an effect of the understanding on sensibility (B151–2), a product of the faculty of understanding (Longuenesse 1998a: 219, 222–3). The stress Kant puts in the article on Kästner upon the independence of a notion of space from any conceptualization such as occurs in geometry certainly provided ammunition for an ‘anti- conceptualist’ backlash. In French Kant scholarship, this was led by Fichant’s translation of Kant’s reply to Kästner, as well as a paper underlining its importance for an understanding of Kant on space (Fichant 1997). Replies followed from Longuenesse (1998b, 2005), and from philosophers upholding the stronger conceptualist stance of Marburg neo-Kantianism (Dufour 2003). In English-speaking Kant scholarship, a related discussion has been taking place about the sense to be given to Kant’s claim that constructions in spatial intuition are required to derive geometric truths. A key text in this debate is Friedman (1992). Friedman claims that Kant’s requirement is, in effect, a consequence of the limitations of the monadic logic he used. Friedman (1992: 63–4) points out that, while Kant thought he needed to carry out iterative constructions to construct new points as part of a geometric proof, existential quantifiers in the setting of a polyadic logic could have been used instead, had such a logic been available to Kant. For Friedman, this shows that Kant’s view of geometry as synthetic was conditioned by the limits of the logic at his disposal. Friedman’s reading of the Metaphysical Exposition (1992: 68–70) has it that it is only because of its role in grounding geometry that the representation of space must be an a priori intuition. Carson (1997: 495–7) takes up this point and shows that the infinity of space described by Kant in the Metaphysical Exposition is not that of infinite iteration, but of an infinite given space, and that it therefore is irreducible to logic. In so doing, she is upholding an emphasis upon the phenomenological character of space first made by Parsons (1992: 72), which parallels the anti-conceptualist thrust of Fichant’s position. Partly in response to Carson, Friedman revised his position (Friedman 2000, 2003, 2012) leading to some convergence with Carson’s position, eventually abandoning in effect the fully conceptualist take upon space which he still held in 2000, as we shall see below, while other authors reinforced the need to take the phenomenological notion of space seriously (e.g. Kjosavik 2009). It is noteworthy that Kant’s response to Kästner is discussed by Friedman in the last of those three papers, and indeed its key distinction between metaphysical space that is a given infinite and space as the topic of geometry is what is at the heart of this particular debate around the importance of the phenomenology of space. (shrink)
This notice of Hanna's book Cognition, Content, and the A Priori discusses Hanna's criticisms of traditional conceptions of analyticity and how Kant's synthetic a priori provides for the explanatory lack. I address the question in which transcendental logic is a condition even on what Kant calls general logic.
In this paper, I address the intimate reflexive relation between self-consciousness and objective cognition, by linking self-consciousness explicitly to the topic of judgement. First, I explain that already early on in his published work, even before the Critique—in which this connection of course centrally informs his theory of knowledge, there are clear hints about the epistemic significance of self-consciousness or the mind, even though a fully-fledged theory of judgement and a fully-fledged theory of apperception only first appear in the Critical (...) period. After providing some historical background concerning judgement in Kant’s pre-Critical published works, I go on to argue more systematically for the close connection between his theory of apperception and theory of judgement. I focus on two crucial, closely related aspects, whilst considering Robert Pippin’s well-known reading of Kantian apperception (Pippin 1987/1997; 2014): (1) the objectivity of judgement and (2) the necessary imputability of agency inherent to judgement, which points to the involvement of spontaneity. Spontaneity, i.e. original subjective agency, is perhaps the single most recognisable aspect of Kantian thought, and arguably the quintessential element of Kant’s thought from which German Idealism sprouted. Objectivity and spontaneity are both defining elements of Kant’s account of judgement, and are inextricable. Spontaneity concerns the self-legislative normativity that governs any judgement about objects, such that a judgement counts as objectively valid only because the apperceiving subject takes the judgement to be so valid. It is this objective validity, grounded on the spontaneity of the judging subject, the agent of judgement, that first constitutes the very objectivity of the object of my judgement. As regards point (1), unlike other commentators, I argue that the objective validity of a judgement x is F is not the truth value of the judgement, but rather concerns the primordial connection between every determinative judgement and the empirical object x about which one judges that it has property F, or G, etc., even if the attribution of empirical properties is itself contingent and can of course be false. Objective validity is concerned with the intimate relation between, on the one hand, the objective unity of apperception, which defines a judgement, and the object of judgement, on the other. With respect to (2), I argue, like Pippin and Allison (1990), that the spontaneity involved in the act of judging is irreducible to the causal system determining the content of the judgement, but unlike them, I argue that the spontaneity of judging is not absolute, but relative in a non-Sellarsian sense. To make it clear that the relative spontaneity in theoretical cognition is relative in a non-Sellarsian sense, I adopt and argue for the “concurrence” model of spontaneity, first proposed by Karl Ameriks (1991). This is a crucial point which differentiates Kantian spontaneity from Hegelian spontaneity or freedom in the theoretical context, which is to be seen as the agency, not of the understanding, as is the case for Kant, but of reason itself. (shrink)
This is a review of Corey Dyck's "Kant and Rational Psychology" (OUP 2014), in which among other things I criticise Dyck's claim that in the Critique Kant no longer identifies the "I think" with the "I am". // The copy archived here is the published version, the watermark won't show when printed.
In this essay, I reply to Robert Watt's critique of my book Kant's Radical Subjectivism https://wp.me/ptwJK-1dr I address issues concerning epistemic humility, objective validity and the logical derivation of the categories from apperception.
I argue, without offering what Ameriks has called a 'short argument', that idealism follows already from the constraints that the use of the categories, in particular the categories of quality, places on the conceivability of things in themselves. My claim is that, although it is not only possible but also necessary to think things in themselves, it doesn't follow that by merely thinking we have a full grasp of the nature of things in themselves. For support, I look to a (...) much overlooked chapter in the Critique, the Transcendental Ideal, where Kant discusses what it is for a thing to be a thing-in-itself proper, namely something that is thoroughly determined. I claim that the chief reason why, given Kant's view of determinative judgment, we cannot determine a thing-in-itself is because of two connected reasons: (1) a thing-in-itself is already fully determined and therefore not further determinable and (2) we cannot possibly determine all of the thing's possible determinations. (shrink)
Besides addressing structural and methodical issues relating to the so-called ‘second step’ of the B-Deduction, this paper expands on the theme of synthesis and addresses Kant’s argument in that second step about how figurative synthesis (synthesis speciosa) or transcendental or productive imagination accounts for the possibility of perceptual knowledge of spatiotemporal objects. I consider three key points: First, I discuss some systematic issues regarding the precise relation between intellectual and figurative synthesis. I argue that figurative synthesis is in fact intellectual (...) synthesis in the mode of the a priori synthesis of apprehension in empirical intuition, and that therefore figurative synthesis is always a function of the understanding, and hence can never operate independently of it. Figurative synthesis is simply how the understanding operates in the empirical domain, in an actual empirical judgement. This undercuts certain nonconceptualist construals of Kant’s argument, which argue that nonconceptual content is synthesised content by virtue of figurative synthesis, but not synthesised by virtue of intellectual synthesis, since the latter ex hypothesi implies conceptualisation by the understanding. Secondly, I examine in detail how figurative synthesis must be seen as providing the a priori formal ground for the knowledge of concrete spatiotemporal objects, and why synthesis is in one sense also a sufficient condition for the empirical reality of such objects but in another sense not a sufficient condition of their existence. I shall particularly pay attention to the role that synthesis plays in the determination of space, and stress the fact that Kant’s claims regarding the conceptual determination of space does not require, and in fact cannot mean, a collapse between what is receptively given in intuition and the spontaneous act of determining intuitions, nor imply that necessarily, what is receptively given is subject to the categories. My reading allows for a notion of not-yet-determined metaphysical space as irreducibly nonconceptual, in the sense that its unity is sui generis and not reliant on the unity of the understanding that is required for determinate spaces. Thirdly, I address Kant’s claims that the categories, through figurative synthesis, constitute “the original ground of [nature’s] necessary lawfulness” (B165) and that the laws of nature “exist just as little in the appearances, but rather exist only relative to the subject in which the appearances inhere, insofar as it has understanding” (B164). Of particular concern here is the need for the unity of apperception, hence the categories by means of figurative synthesis, as a guarantee and foundation of the a priori knowable uniformity of nature. // The copy archived here is the published version, the watermark won't show when printed. (shrink)
This article is a modified version in translation of the original Dutch version that appeared in Tijdschrift voor Filosofie 4 (2010) / * This article has been updated and improved and appears now in the definitive version in my book Kant's Radical Subjectivism, chapter 5. Please refer to that chapter, rather than to this article.
In this paper, I discuss the debate on Kant and nonconceptual content in the context of the main argument of the B-Deduction. Kantian conceptualists (Bowman 2011; Griffith 2012; Gomes 2014) have responded to the recent nonconceptualist offensive, with reference to A89ff./B122ff. (§13)—which, confusingly, the nonconceptualists also cite as evidence for their contrary reading—by arguing that the nonconceptualist view conflicts with the central goal of TD, namely, to argue that all intuitions are subject to the categories. I contend that the conceptualist (...) reading of A89ff./B122ff. is unfounded, but also that the nonconceptualists are wrong to believe that intuitions as such refer strictly to objects independently of the functions of the understanding, and that they are mistaken about the relation between figurative synthesis and intellectual synthesis. I argue that Kant is a conceptualist, albeit not in the sense that standard conceptualists assume. Perceptual knowledge is always judgemental, though without this resulting in the standard conceptualist claim that, necessarily, all intuitions or all perceptions per se stand under the categories (strong conceptualism). I endorse the nonconceptualist view that, for Kant, perception per se, i.e. any mere or ‘blind’ intuition of objects (i.e. objects as indeterminate appearances) short of perceptual knowledge, does not necessarily stand under the categories. Perception is not yet perceptual knowledge. In this context, I point out the common failure in the literature on TD, both of the conceptualist and nonconceptualist stripe, to take account of the modal nature of Kant’s argument for the relation between intuition and concept insofar as cognition should arise from it. // the copy archived here is the published version, the watermark won't show when printed. (shrink)
*The version archived here is a reworked version which will appear, subject to further changes, in my next book "Original Apperception: Self-Consciousness in Kant and German Idealism"; the watermark won't show when printed // ABSTRACT: Strawson famously argues that Kant’s argument for the necessary conditions of experience can only be retained once freed from a priori synthesis. Strawson claims that a purely ‘analytical connexion’ between experience and the object of experience is conceptually inferable from a thoroughly analytic premise concerning the (...) capacity for self-ascription of representations. In this paper, I take issue with the way in which Strawson construes the analyticity of the principle of self-ascription or what Kant calls the principle of transcendental apperception. More particularly, I shall argue that Strawson’s unity argument, viz. his construal of the unity of consciousness, on which the principle of self-ascription depends, suffers from a modal fallacy. Whilst arguing this, I shall suggest that a priori synthesis is required even for analytic unity of consciousness to be possible. [Note to the official publication: on p. 265n.19 reach should be r-each (subscript), and on p. 269 square symbol should be universal quantifier]. (shrink)
Dennis Schulting offers a thoroughgoing, analytic account of the first half of the Transcendental Deduction of the Categories in the B-edition of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason that is different from existing interpretations in at least one important aspect: its central claim is that each of the 12 categories is wholly derivable from the principle of apperception, which goes against the current view that the Deduction is not a proof in a strict philosophical sense and the standard reading that in (...) the Deduction Kant only gives an account of the global applicability of the categories to experience. This novel approach enables a reappraisal of Kant’s controversial claim that transcendental self-consciousness is not only a necessary condition of objective experience but also sufficient for it. The book provides an extensive analysis of Kant’s theory of transcendental apperception and also explains why the argument of the Transcendental Deduction is both a regressive and a progressive argument. (shrink)
In this paper, I advance a moderately conceptualist interpretation of Kant’s account of the threefold synthesis in the A-Deduction. Often the first version of TD, the A-Deduction, is thought to be less conceptualist than the later B-version from 1787 (e.g. Heidegger 1991; 1995). Certainly, it seems that in the B-Deduction Kant puts more emphasis on the role of the understanding in determining the manifold of representations in intuition than he does in the A-Deduction. It also appears that in the A-Deduction (...) the seemingly pre-conceptual aspects of a priori synthesis, namely those of the synthesis of apprehension and the imagination, are more prominently featured than in the B-Deduction. And the fact that in the A-Deduction judgement does not appear to play any significant role reinforces the view that the A-Deduction is less strongly conceptualist. I believe that Kant is a conceptualist also in the A-Deduction (as much as in the B-Deduction) in the sense that all syntheses, which are expounded in the second section of the A-Deduction, must be seen as involving the categories or the understanding as the seat of the categories. However, despite some apparent strong modal claims regarding apperception in the A-Deduction, I argue that Kant is a moderate conceptualist in the sense that he allows for the real possibility that some representations are apprehended that are not subsumed or subsumable under the categories, or determined or determinable by the understanding as the seat of the categories. Not all representations must be synthesised and hence be conceptualised (by means of the categories), nor are all representations necessarily conceptualisable (by means of the categories). Often it is argued that the application of the categories must be seen as separate from or prior to conceptualisation (that is, employment of concepts in a judgement), so that the categories must be considered to apply to representations at least to the extent that the productive imagination or recognitive synthesis is involved, even if no empirical concepts are applied in an actual judgement. But it is difficult to see how categories can apply outside the context of an actual judgement in which ipso facto empirical concepts are employed, because, after all, categories are nothing but logical functions of judgement (e.g. B143). More in particular, I shall argue for the claims that (1) appearances to the contrary, all three levels of syntheses in the A-Deduction, including the synthesis of recognition, are interdependent and are not to be seen as operating singly or independently of each other, and hence of the categories; (2) ‘mere’ apprehension, or ‘mere’ intuition, is not dependent on the understanding and the application or possible application of the categories; and that (3) ‘mere’ apprehension does not even invoke a priori synthesis of apprehension and hence is as such fully lawless in terms of Kantian a priori laws. In this context, I also address Kant’s argument in the A-Deduction about the role of the imagination in the production of spatial objects and explain his apt use of the example of cinnabar to show that the kind of association that is at issue here concerns the possibility of knowledge, not the possibility of mere association, as is often assumed. // The copy archived here is the published version, the watermark won't show when printed. (shrink)
An integral translation of Kant's 'Über Kästners Abhandlungen' (AA XX: 410-23). This translation is accompanied by an introductory essay on the importance of the Kästner treatise for an understanding of Kant's theory of space as infinite. See Onof & Schulting, "Kant, Kästner and the Distinction between Metaphysical and Geometrical Space".
This key collection of essays sheds new light on long-debated controversies surrounding Kant’s doctrine of idealism and is the first book in the English language that is exclusively dedicated to the subject. Well-known Kantians Karl Ameriks and Manfred Baum present their considered views on this most topical aspect of Kant's thought. Several essays by acclaimed Kant scholars broach a vastly neglected problem in discussions of Kant's idealism, namely the relation between his conception of logic and idealism: The standard view that (...) Kant's logic and idealism are wholly separable comes under scrutiny in these essays. A further set of articles addresses multiple facets of the notorious notion of the thing in itself, which continues to hold the attention of Kant scholars. The volume also contains an extensive discussion of the often overlooked chapter in the Critique of Pure Reason on the Transcendental Ideal. Together, the essays provide a whole new outlook on Kantian idealism. No one with a serious interest in Kant's idealism can afford to ignore this important book. Papers by Karl Ameriks, Manfred Baum, Ido Geiger, Lucy Allais, Gary Banham, Steven M. Bayne, Marcel Quarfood, Dennis Schulting, Dietmar Heidemann, Christian Onof and Jacco Verburgt. (shrink)
In this paper, I show that there is at least one crucial, non-short, argument, which does not involve arguments about spatiotemporality, why Kant’s subjectivism about the possibility of knowledge, argued in the Transcendental Deduction, must lead to idealism. This has to do with the fact that given the implications of the discursivity thesis, namely, that the domain of possible determination of objects is characterised by limitation, judgements of experience can never reach the completely determined individual, i.e. the thing in itself (...) or the unlimited real, but only objects as objects of possible experience. More specifically, I argue that idealism follows already from the constraints that the use of the categories, in particular the categories of quality, places on the very conceivability of things in themselves. My claim is that, although it is not only possible but also necessary to think things in themselves, it does not follow that by merely thinking them we have a full grasp of the nature of things in themselves, as some important commentators claim we have. We must therefore distinguish between two kinds of conceiving of things in themselves: conceiving in the standard sense of ‘forming the notion of’, and conceiving in the narrow sense of ‘having a determinate intellectual grasp’. So although we must be able notionally to think things in themselves, as the grounds of their appearances, we cannot even conceive, through pure concepts, of how they are in themselves in any determinate, even if merely intellectual, sense. To put it differently, we cannot have a positive conception of things in themselves (this is in line with Kant’s distinction between noumena in the negative and positive senses; cf. B307–9). For support, I resort to a much overlooked chapter in the Critique, concerning the transcendental Ideal, where Kant discusses what it is for a thing to be a thing in itself proper, namely, something that is thoroughly determined. This concerns the real ontological conditions of things, which are not satisfied by the modal categories alone, namely, their existence conditions. I claim that the chief reason why, given Kant’s view of determinative judgement, we cannot determine a thing in itself is because of two connected reasons: (1) a thing in itself is already fully determined and therefore not further determinable and (2) we cannot possibly determine all of the thing’s possible determinations. In this context, I also discuss the notion of material (not: empirical) synthesis—of which Kant speaks in the chapter on the transcendental Ideal—which must be presupposed as the ground of the formal a priori synthesis that grounds possible experience. This material synthesis, which is an idea of reason that defines a thing as thoroughly determined with regard to all of its possible predicates and has mere regulative status, can by implication not be determined by the forms of the understanding, which synthesise only a limited set of predicates. As a result, given this definition of ‘thing in itself’, any object (appearance) as at best a limited set of determinations of the thing can never be numerically identical to the thing in itself as thoroughly determined individual. This undercuts a standard assumption about the identity relation between appearances and things in themselves in many contemporary interpretations of Kant’s transcendental idealism. // The copy archived here is the published version, the watermark won't show when printed. (shrink)
There is hardly an analogy in the history of philosophy that has been referred to as often as the one that Kant himself draws in the second preface of the Critique of pure reason between Copernicus′ revolution in astronomy and his own revolution in metaphysics; and yet there is to the present day no detailed analysis thereof. The analogy is much more complex than meets the superficial eye: In the first passage , Kant does not draw a simple comparison to (...) Copernicus′ famous heliocentric hypothesis . In the second passage , Kant connects the reference to Copernicus with a reference to Newton by drawing an extremely rich analogy between the law of gravitation and the moral law of freedom. The revolution in metaphysics is related to the revolution in ethics; that famous analogy of Kant really is a Copernican-Newtonian analogy. (shrink)
The first genuine and comprehensive English-language handbook to the study of Kant's philosophy, containing sections on Kant's key works, the philosophical and historical contexts of his philosophy, essays on the reception and influence of the Kantian philosophy, a lexical A-Z list of lemmata addressing central themes and concepts of Kant's thought and an extensive English-language bibliography of secondary literature.